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Who, What, When
Arts on view
A few good reasons
by Beverly Harrison Miller '67, Alumni Association President
Some years ago I told Marny Krause, associate vice president for advancement at Skidmore, that if I could be anything in the world, it would be a philanthropist—someone giving great sums of money to favorite causes. Her answer startled me: “You are a philanthropist.” Her point was that the important part of the equation is the “giving,” not the “great sums.” I had never thought of it in quite that way before.
My guess is that almost every person who reads this is a philanthropist—someone who engages in “an active effort to promote human welfare,” according to my well-worn Webster’s. Last June at Reunion, Jeanne Shipp Waldinger ’68, who received an Outstanding Service Award from the alumni association, asked how many people volunteered their time for an organization. Just about every hand in the audience went up. Again, my guess is that most of those who raised their hands for volunteering also support their causes financially.
In deciding what institution to support and with how much, we must choose carefully, because most of us have a finite amount of resources to distribute to others. And these are very personal decisions. Here are the reasons behind mine:
My Skidmore years turned me from a shy teenager into a young woman ready to face the world. My professors inspired me time and again, and when I return to Skidmore now, today’s professors do the same. Almost thirty years after my graduation, my daughter, Brooke Miller ’99, had the same experience. As a doctoral candidate today, Brooke is studying circadian rhythms, which she investigated at Skidmore with biology professor Bernie Possidente.
Skidmore professors are passionate about their mission with undergraduates, which President Phil Glotzbach so clearly identified in his inaugural speech: to prepare young people “to take their places as leaders…[in] tomorrow’s world.” Skidmore, he continued, “is uniquely positioned…to perform this work because the value of creativity is deeply ingrained in our history and it permeates our thinking today.”
One reason the college is so well positioned is that it uses its resources wisely. It is often said that the college does so much with so little, and indeed we are a young institution and lack the large endowment of many other institutions. We do not, however, lack either the will or the vision to succeed. Two of my husband’s institutions are very wealthy, yet he has chosen with me to make our gift to Skidmore, where it is most needed and will do the most good.
Skidmore has ambitious plans—among them, a new music building so that music majors are adequately supported in their learning, new dorms so that we can be even more of a residential community, and funds to support those professors who were so important in leading us on new paths. To realize those ambitions the college needs our help.
Those are my reasons. Whatever yours are, I ask that when a classmate, student, or other member of the Skidmore community calls you, please make a gift, to honor what you received from the college and to help it move forward and fulfill its academic mission for other young people.
That college education really paid off!
More proof that graduates and friends of Skidmore are caring and smart people: Like Ellen and Herb Patterson, many have made generous donations through Skidmore’s gift annuity program. The concept is easy: Give the benefits of a gift and receive the benefits of an income.
“Herb and I think a charitable gift annuity is a wonderful way of showing appreciation to your alma mater. Skidmore meant a lot to me, and this kind of gift is a way to invest in its future while providing me with a lifetime return on my investment. —Ellen Mathewson Patterson ’42
- Charitable annuities provide vital future support for the next century of Skidmore students.
- To help build your future too, attractive income rates for
donors are guaranteed for life (e.g., for a 60-year-old donor,
the rate is 5.5%; for a 70-year-old donor, the rate is 6.2%).
- And your gift qualifies for a tax deduction.
For details call 800-584-0115, ext. 5655, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org